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Advances, Issues and Challenges in Organic Lamb Meat Quality

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Abstract

Organic farming embodies extrinsic features that are valued by consumers, but studies on the intrinsic properties of organic products remain scarce. This paper first highlights the inherent difficulties in comparing the qualities of food products of organic systems to those of conventional systems. The paper then gives an overview of the current state of knowledge and the main issues and challenges regarding the different facets of organic lamb meat and carcass quality. Organic farming promotes pasture-feeding, which is favourable from a nutritional point of view, since meat from pasture-fed lambs has a more desirable fatty acid composition than meat from lambs fed concentrate diets. However, pasture-feeding may lead to a greater occurrence of off-flavour in meat and to a less desirable meat colour; these effects are the result of both the animal’s diet and its increased age at slaughter. Pasture-feeding may also lead to a higher variability in sensory qualities because of a higher variability in animal age at slaughter. These sensory defects may be even greater in organic systems, which promote legumes within pastures, because these plant species have a prominent role in the ruminal synthesis of unpleasant smelling volatile compounds that are stored in the fat. One of the main challenges is to further experiment with management strategies to help minimise the occurrence of these sensory defects and control the variability in animals’ performances. Additionally, the paper gives an insight into the advances in analytical methods for authenticating meat from low-input grassland-based systems.

Keywords

  • Organic farming
  • Lamb
  • Meat
  • Pasture-feeding
  • Quality
  • Sensory
  • Nutritional
  • Fatty acids
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Correspondence to Sophie Prache .

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Prache, S. (2014). Advances, Issues and Challenges in Organic Lamb Meat Quality. In: Bellon, S., Penvern, S. (eds) Organic Farming, Prototype for Sustainable Agricultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7927-3_17

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